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Texas law cited to promote school bus seatbelts elsewhere

The higher a vehicle rides, the greater the risk of it rolling over in an accident. That's just the reality of the laws of gravity and physics. When such accidents do occur, the danger of a serious injury or of being killed is significant.

It doesn't take much for a rollover accident to occur. All it takes is a swerve during a move to evade a hazard in the road, a sudden tire blowout, or negligence on the part of another driver. Whatever the cause, victims of accidents seeking the compensation they feel they are due should be working with an attorney to explore their options.

The reality of the deadliness of rollovers is cited as one reason Texas passed a law in 2007 requiring school buses to be equipped with seatbelts, and why a bipartisan group of lawmakers in Wisconsin is pushing for similar legislation in that state. 

The supporters point specifically to a crash in Texas that killed two young girls and left 12 injured. None of the children on the bus were wearing belts at the time. The Texas law passed afterword with almost unanimous support.

The Wisconsin measure is working its way through the legislature this session and recently had a hearing. During the session, opponents said that the bill isn't needed because school buses are already safe. They also said that many children wouldn't use the belts.

But supporters said seatbelt use is so common that it is nearly a habit for many families. That being the case, they say they expect seatbelt use on buses to be accepted easily.

Responding to complaints about the cost of having to install the belts, lawmakers have proposed a plan that would have the state help defray the expense. Bill sponsors say the estimated $10,000-per-bus cost is a small price to pay if it saves just one life.

Source: BadgerHerald.com, "Bill would require seat belts on school buses," Nyal Mueenuddin, Nov. 4, 2013

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Brian Jensen

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